Power tariff jacked up in line with IMF deal: Shehbaz

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said the price of electricity has been increased under the condition of the IMF and 31 per cent domestic consumers in the country using up to 300 units a month are still having partial subsidy.

The Prime Minister was addressing after witnessing the signing of a framework agreement between the State Oil Company of Azerbai jan Republic (SOCAR) and the Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) here for LNG procurement with flexible terms.

The framework agreement was signed by PLL Managing Director Masood Nabi and SOCAR Trading Chief Executive Officer Mariam Almaszade. Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, Governor Punjab Baleeghur Rehman, diplomats and government officials were also present.

The prime minister said the 63 per cent domestic consumers using up to 200 units a month would be exempt from the recent increase in power tariff. Besides, he said, a partial subsidy was also being given to the consumers of up to 300 units a month, which comprises around 31 per cent of the total domestic consumers.

“Due to the toughest conditions of the International Monetary Fund, the government had to raise the electricity prices but I stressed that the burden should not be passed on to the protected segments of society,” he said.

Under this framework agreement SOCAR Trading has offered LNG supply to Pakistan in the form of one cargo per month, on flexible terms and with the credit lines for 30 days after delivery of the cargo in one year contract which is extendable by another year.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said it was really a great day as “we are standing here as brothers from two brotherly countries Pakistan and Azerbaijan.” He expressed wishes to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev whom he met in Baku few weeks ago and thanked him for finalising this agreement.

“We had extremely productive and very fruitful discussion over there as to how to promote economic relations between the two friendly countries,” he said, adding that immediately on his return to Pakistan, the Pakistan government extended approval to the Azerbaijan airline to land in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. “This is a big step forward to promote tourism and investment and exchange of delegation between the two countries.” The Prime Minister announced that the agreement’s initial term is for one year, with the possibility of extending it for one more year.

According to the agreement, Azerbaijan will offer one cargo of LNG each month, and Pakistan will have the option to accept or decline the cargo without facing any financial penalty for non-acceptance. Additionally, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif highlighted the positive outcomes of recent discussions with the President of Azerbaijan. As a result, approval has been granted for Azeri airline to operate flights to Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi.